Liverpool - a long update!

I joined Hungry Onion nearly 9 months ago - sorry about my silence since then! I am in my sick bed and off work for a couple of days, so I’m taking the opportunity to rectify this by giving an update on all things Liverpool. It might take two or three threads to do this!

First of all, the new places I like (well, new in the last few years) - and there are lots of them:

Neon Jamon - originally in Allerton, now a second branch has opened on Berry St in the city centre. Very good tapas, always busy. Top tip - clams with a rich sherry-laced sauce.

Roja Pinchos - very good place on Berry St. Pinchos are imaginative. Very plain cafe-type room with a bar downstairs.

Beijing Chinese Restaurant - our new favourite Chinese place, on Knight St. It has a ‘normal’ (i.e. some Cantonese type stuff to keep the Brits happy) menu, but specialises in Northern Chinese food along with a few Sichuan dishes. Have only been once, but had a great, very spicy, noodle soup, Mongolian lamb and Sichuan green beans. All perfect - will try this again and give the menu a good going over.

Mr Chilli is another good relatively new place on Seel St. Some misses (hot pots are very spicy, but thin and watery and no depth of flavour) but some very good Sichuan dishes.

Mowgli - Indian food on Bold St. Says it’s ‘street food’, but I think that’s just trying to follow the trend. Dishes are interesting though, with a small menu and good cooking going on.

Maray - Middle Eastern-inspired small plates and cocktails too on Bold St. Some very good food and it is very popular. Top tip - get one or two plates of ‘plain’ food - we went for too many dishes of highly flavoured meaty dishes and there was no balance - I was craving plain broccoli or salad or something to go with it!

Salthouse Bacaro - sister restaurant to Salthouse Tapas, on Castle St in the business district. Italian small plates. Really good - one of my favourites.

The Pen Factory - what I call the New Old Everyman. This is run by Paddy, the guy who established the old Everyman Bistro in the 70s, which became an institution. When the theatre was rebuilt a couple of years ago, Paddy lost the franchise. But he has reappeared - next door - in a new venture that has managed to capture the spirit of the old Everyman bistro while modernising the menu. Small plates and full meals - all interesting and have only had one bad dish in several visits. So pleased it is back.

Buyer’s Club - a new-ish venture by the people who set up a secret dinning club in the city. It is located in the old Flying Picket bar/music venue behind the Blinds School on Hardman St. The bar does excellently cooked small plates - really interesting and very good indeed, with a decent wine list. The restaurant part isn’t open as a normal restaurant would be - it is more for special events. A tip for a Michelin Star in the not-too-distant future - although it might not have the service and frippery demanded by the inspectors…

The Art School - behind the Philharmonic Hall on Sugnall St, off Myrtle St. Very posh dining experience with excellent food - a Paul Askew (from the London Carriage Works) venture. Only complaint was the over-the-top service - too many people being obsequious around us. They are training young people up I think, which is great, but I find it hard to relax in a stifled environment where everyone is just trying to hard. They are tipped for a Michelin star by the press.

I’m sure there are lots I have forgotten - I’ll start another thread when I remember them! And I will try to be a more regular contributor …

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Wotcha, mate. Good to see you.

Mowgli have a branch in Manchester. I had a look at the menu and, whilst it looked OK, I havent felt the need to give it a try. We’ve a couple of top notch Mumbai street food places - Indian Tiffin Room and Aamchi Mumbai - and I’m not sure I need a third on my list. Maybe one day.

Which reminds me… I havent yet tried the Manc branch of Lunya.

Hope you’re well soon. There’s definitely a bug doing the rounds - I’ve just about shaken it off after three weeks - doctor prescribed antibiotics and steriods , neither of which did much.

Thanks John - I thought I was on the mend, but seemed to regress yesterday - it seems to be taking ages to shake it off.

I’ll add some more info/recommendations on Liverpool places when I next have a spurt of energy - there seem to have been new openings every week over the last couple of years. Lots of these have been American/BBQ/smokehouse-type places that seem to be taking over the planet right now. Some of these look quite good, but there are a couple of not so good ones I’ve tried which have put me off the rest - there’s lots of pulled pork (or pulled anything to come to think of it) with overly sweet tooth-ache-inducing BBQ sauce.

But there are also lots of other new places worth trying - I just haven’t had the time (or the money) to go to them all yet. Will keep you informed!

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For what its worth…

My two penneth on the list

Neon J - Allerton Road branch seems better than ‘town’ to me

Roja - shamefully not been yet - need to try it out

Mr Chilli - please tell me what is good here - I went and (so far ) once was enough

Mowgli - now got a new branch in Castle Street too - where you can book (!) unlike Bold Street. I fear the money making machine is moving through the gears though - bigger space, more seats, more noise…food still great but need to check John’s Mcr places to compare

Maray - don’t get it, I’m afraid. Too much sauce ! Heartily agree it needs more plain dishes or it can leave you feeling a tad queasy. Also over priced ? The perils of a good Grauniad write up. Not been to Allerton Rd (new branch ) yet but other half enjoyed it.

Bacaro - ho hum. Used to be good value at lunch ( 3 courses for £9.95 ) now inexplicably three courses for £12.95. Nice space, though.

Pen Factory - started brilliantly when it opened and couple of years ago. Sweet revenge on the woeful new Everyman Bistro next door.Real promise which seems ( to me ) to have lost its way. Pernicious sharing boards are awful value for money ( which they are in most places, I think ) and the good plates now seem to be outnumbered by mediocre stuff. Still want it to succeed though, so will try again and report back. Good for drinks too.

Buyers Club - strange gaff. Cant seem to decide what it is ( perhaps that is just me ! ). Going to a gig there next week. Never been tempted to eat.

Art School - been once and quite enjoyed the experience and the youngsters serving and enthusiasm. Going for lunch with other half this coming Saturday. Will report back.

Still going strong…

Etsu - Japanese place still good luncheon value - less so of an evening as prices hike by about 40%

Delifonseca - dockside branch only ( Stanley Street has totally lost its way after disastrous converting of downstairs into a bar ) - lovely people still doing lovely food

Also consider - Mr Miyagi - fusion style on Bold Street ( more cocktails and squawking with food ) or Allerton Road ( same menu, better food, less squawking )

Crust - pizza on Bold Street - full of studes and dudes but reviews from friends who have been say its okay

Right, that’s quite enuff from me !

E

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold